Politics postsThursday October 17, 2019
‘The Floodgates May Have Opened’
“When the impeachment inquiry started, a little more than three weeks ago, there were only an anonymous whistle-blower's complaint and the summary that Trump released of his July 25th phone call with the Ukrainian President. Because the investigation has moved so quickly, it is easy to lose sight of how much has been learned since then. Day after day, in fact, the House's impeachment inquiry has produced significant revelations that point directly to Presidential culpability. ...
”Ever since Democrats took control of the House in January, Trump has sought to block them from conducting investigations and oversight of his Administration, defying subpoenas, refusing to send officials to Capitol Hill, and fighting Congress in court. The impeachment inquiry, however, has finally breached the Administration's blockade. Just this past week, the fired U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch; the former National Security Council senior director in charge of Ukraine policy, Fiona Hill; the current State Department deputy assistant secretary in charge of Ukraine policy, George Kent; the Secretary of State's senior adviser, who quit in protest over the Ukraine affair last week, Michael McKinley; and Sondland, a wealthy Trump donor turned E.U. ambassador, all testified, defying Trump in order to do so, and at considerable risk to their careers. ...
“‘The floodgates may have opened,’” said Hill's attorney Lee Wolosky.
from “Forget Trump's ‘Meltdown’—Follow the Testimony,” by Susan B. Glasser, in The New Yorker
A Man, A Plan, A Numbskull
Schumer: Is your plan to rely on the Syrians and the Turks?
Trump: Our plan is to keep the American people safe.
Pelosi: That's not a plan. That's a goal.
Conversation at the White House yesterday, as U.S. policymakers try to fix the mess Trump has made of the Turkish/Syrian/Kurd situation by abandoning the region. The above photo was first tweeted by Trump, who was trying to show that Pelosi had a meltdown; instead, it's been embraced by pretty much anyone who hasn't drunk Trump's stupid Kool-Aid. We need more people standing up to the SOB. Think of how many lives we‘ve already lost because the man on the right either knows nothing or is severely compromised. Or both. Think of our lost standing in the world. The U.S. has been attacked before but this is the first time in my lifetime we’ve done it to ourselves.
‘I, in my Great and Unmatched Wisdom’
Witness the audacity of sociopathy:
Someone on Twitter asked “Who says something like this?” and I responded, “Nobody wise.”
And that's not even taking into account the crux of the matter: Trump's apparently unilateral and unthought-out decision to allow a Turkish military operation against our Kurdish allies in Northern Syria. From The New York Times:
Turkey considers the Kurdish forces to be a terrorist insurgency, and has long sought to end American support for the group. But the Kurdish fighters, which are part of the Syrian Democratic Forces, or S.D.F., have been the United States' most reliable partner in fighting the Islamic State in a strategic corner of northern Syria.
The GOP went nuts in a way they never had for other insane Trump moments: Lindsey Graham, Mitt Romney, Nikki Haley, all slammed him. Even “Fox & Friends” turned. That's what led to the above tweet. Another bad day for U.S. foreign policy. Another good day for Putin.
And Trump? His day also included a decision by a Federal District Court in Manhattan that he turn over eight years of tax returns that had been subpoenaed by the Manhattan D.A. in August “as part of an investigation into hush-money payments made in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.” His lawyers immediately appealed to the 2nd Circuit.
May he have many, many more bad days.
Ukraine, et al.
In last week‘s New Yorker, Steve Coll (“Ghost Wars,” “The Bin Ladens”) has a good, two-page “Talk of the Town” piece about Ukraine, et al., under the print-edition headline “Reason to Impeach.” I finally read it yesterday. Some highlights:
“Many features of Trumpism—the cynical populism, the brazen readiness to profit from high office, the racist and nativist taunts—have antecedents in American politics. But Donald Trump’s open willingness to ask foreign governments to dig up dirt on political opponents has been an idiosyncratic aspect of his rise to power.”
“When the interview [with George Stephanopoulos last June] was released, Ellen L. Weintraub, the chair of the Federal Election Commission, felt obliged to point out that ‘it is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election.’”
“The [whistleblower] complaint's lucidity and detail may help House investigators defend the integrity of their inquiry against the torrent of spin and lies that will surely continue to issue from Trump and his allies.”
Then we get the history, most of which I knew, but all of it is a good reminder—particularly as the torrent of spin and lies and trolls and bots keep coming:
- February 2014: Popular uprising in Kiev removes Viktor Yanukovych, “a corrupt ally of Moscow”
- April 2014: Hunter Biden, son of Joe, gets a lucrative seat on the board of Burisma Holdings, a large private gas company
- 2015: U.S. and its allies recommend ousting Viktor Shokin, a prosecutor general, who is believed to be soft on corruption. After a visit and ultimatum by Vice-President Joe Biden, he is pushed out in March 2016
- “But the record indicates that Shokin was removed because he wasn't doing enough about Ukrainian corruption.”
- August 2016: Ukrainian law enforcement releases records showing Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign manager, recevied $12.7 million from Yanukovych, the Moscow ally
- From Coll: “Trump apparently concluded that Ukraine was conspiring with Hillary Clinton and the Democrats to try to defeat him. For reasons that are not easy to fathom, he also came to endorse a conspiracy theory holding that Ukraine harbors a computer server used by the Democratic National Committee in 2016.”
- April 2019 “Trump told Fox News that Lutsenko's allegations were ‘big’ and ‘incredible,’ and that he thought Attorney General William Barr would find them interesting.”
- May 2019: Trump's private lawyer Rudy Giuliani plans a trip to Kiev to talk up the Bidens and alleged Ukraine/Democrat links “because that information will be very, very helpful to my client.” Then the trip is canceled.
- Early July: Trump withholds $400 million in military aid to Ukraine
- July 25: Phone call with new Ukraine president Zelensky: “I would like you to do us a favor, though.”
I'd like to know more about the phone summary, what was redacted, and what those ellipses covered up. I'd like to know more about the post-phone call cover-up, in which the memorandum was moved to a highly restricted computer server not normally reserved for such things. I'd like to know what else is on that server—what Trump says on phone calls with Putin and the leader of Saudi Arabia.
Soon, I hope. He tells it like it is, doesn't he? That's what his supporters say. So I imagine he wouldn't mind us hearing it like it is.
Liddle' Shop of Horrors
In the wake of the Ukraine scandal and the beginning of impeachment inquiries by the U.S. House of Representatives, Pres. Trump remains as calm and steadfast as ever:
To show you how dishonest the LameStream Media is, I used the word Liddle’, not Liddle, in discribing Corrupt Congressman Liddle’ Adam Schiff. Low ratings @CNN purposely took the hyphen out and said I spelled the word little wrong. A small but never ending situation with CNN!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 27, 2019
- “hyphen”? He means apostrophe
- What the hell is Liddle with an apostrophe anyway? I get “Liddle.” In his usual bully-at-recess manner, Trump is trying to make a U.S. representative seem small—smaller than even the use of “Little”—by saying it like a kid would say it. But what's “Liddle” apostrophe? That's nothing. Is he thinking “Li‘l”? As in “Li’l Abner”?
I don't think I'm smart enough to fathom this stupidity.
Reminder: This is the president of the United States.